My 3-year-old daughter hurriedly climbed onto the sofa and took a position she thought was safe for her when the vacuum cleaner started working. This behavior was a situation that had been going on for 2-3 months, and I was a little surprised. While I was wondering what could happen without panicking, I experienced another surprising event. As a child psychiatrist, I thought that I should definitely share this situation with you. One evening, while playing with his Legos with my daughter, he suddenly stopped playing and got up from the floor and went back to the seat that he thought was safe for him and began to wait. “What’s going on, what happened now”without saying “garbage truck is passing”said and added, Don’t you eat me, mom? ‘ he said, looking at me with eyes seeking help. At that moment; “Yes, we were living the childhood fears that every child has. ‘ I thought to myself. It turned out that my little one had been running away from that environment for 2-3 months, afraid that the vacuum cleaner or the garbage truck would come and eat him.

Fear, It is an emotion that exists in the developmental process of the child. From 6 months of age, a baby may develop fear of foreign objects, places, and people. primary caregivers (usually mom and dad) Without it, the baby reacts to different environments. He approaches the people he has just met, crying, and calls his mother. This is a result of the natural development process. Our baby’s perception of the environment has increased and he has started to evaluate the familiar-unfamiliar classifications. Alienation and avoidance of separation from parents continue until 2 years of age.

Preschool age group children (1-7 years old) Since they are in the stage of concrete thought, they cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy. Since abstract thought processes are not developed, they evaluate events from a concrete point of view. They tend to produce and believe unrealistic scenarios. As funny as it may sound to us, a 3-year-old can really be terrified that the garbage truck might eat him, that the vacuum cleaner might suck him in, that he might get lost in himself when he sits on the toilet and flushes it.

Between the ages of 2 and 5, children begin to develop different fears of separation and abandonment from their parents. These fears; Various animals are intended for loud sound and darkness.

The duty of parents in developmental fears is to perceive these fears naturally and not to focus on these fears. It is important to listen to the child’s fear in simple and plain language and to give the message that he is safe. If this is the case, the child receives the message from the parents’ reactions that the fears are unfounded. On the contrary, if parents focus on these fears, for example, “it’s okay, if you’re too scared stay with me…” Their reactions may leave various questions in the minds of children. For example, the child; He will be able to think, “Look, my mother/father also cares about this fear, so there is something really bad.” If our child is afraid of the dark at night, a light should be left on and he should be allowed to sleep in his room. If the fear object is an animal; Parents can cope with this fear with the toys they buy for their children. At the same time, the shyness of parents towards animals encountered in the environment will be carefully observed and learned by children; This situation may cause the transition of fears from natural fears to pathological fears (phobias).

When it comes to primary school age, the child may face developmentally different fears. These fears are directed towards abstract concepts such as the death of parents and humiliation at school. In this period, the past life of the child and the attitudes of the parents gain importance in coping with the fears. Primary school is the period in which the abstract thinking ability of the child develops and socialization and individualization gain importance. In this period, the child now tends to prove his personality and identity to the environment and move away from the parent. The ability to take responsibility, given by the parents in the previous periods, will support and accelerate the individualization of the child. Of course, fears about social life in this new era are natural.

Wishing you less fearful days.



Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

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